Ottawa Magazine - - Livable Luxury -

Bei­jing artist Li Yongfei is known for his tra­di­tional ink brush paint­ing, which he of­ten uses to de­pict con­tem­po­rary themes. Zhu Dan com­mis­sioned this paint­ing a few years ago for the liv­ing room of their new Bei­jing apart­ment af­ter meet­ing the up-and-com­ing artist at an ex­hi­bi­tion in that city. “I re­ally liked his style,” Dan says, adding that the two spoke that day about com­mis­sion­ing a piece. She mea­sured the space, de­ter­mined the size of the paint­ing, then met with Li to talk about colours and themes. Dan loves fish, which sym­bol­ize good for­tune, so the artist in­cor­po­rated them into a dreamy wa­ter­scape. “I wanted the paint­ing to feel like a story so you could pic­ture your­self look­ing into the wa­ter and it flow­ing around you.”

Li of­ten uses tra­di­tional ink brush paint­ing, but his themes ref­er­ence more con­tem­po­rary aes­thet­ics and fash­ion. He is seen as part of a new wave of Chi­nese artists whose work re­flects a more glob­al­ized age in­flu­enced by both East and West. A few years ago, some of his pieces ap­peared in Se­cret Love, a trav­el­ling ex­hi­bi­tion that ex­plored the rapid change tak­ing place in Chi­nese so­ci­ety. Iden­tity, norms, and sex­u­al­ity were key mo­tifs.

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